Category Archives: Imperialism

US Collective Suicide, by Chris Hedges

Governments die, people live on. Most of us will still be around after the US empire departs this veil of tears, so the “Collective Suicide” is overwrought. It’s still a good article. From Chris Hedges at consortiumnews.com:

The return of the Taliban to power will be one more signpost of the end of the American empire — and nobody will be held accountable.

(Original illustration by Mr. Fish)

The debacle in Afghanistan, which will unravel into chaos with lightning speed over the next few weeks and ensure the return of the Taliban to power, is one more signpost of the end of the American empire.

The two decades of combat, the one trillion dollars spent, the 100,000 troops deployed to subdue Afghanistan, the high-tech gadgets, artificial intelligence, cyberwarfare, Reaper drones armed with Hellfire missiles and GBU-30 bombs and the Global Hawk drones with high-resolution cameras, Special Operations Command composed of elite rangers, SEALs and air commandos, black sites, torture, electronic surveillance, satellites, attack aircraft, mercenary armies, infusions of millions of dollars to buy off and bribe the local elites and train an Afghan army of 350,000 that has never exhibited the will to fight, failed to defeat a guerrilla army of 60,000 that funded itself through opium production and extortion in one of the poorest countries on earth.

Like any empire in terminal decay, no one will be held accountable for the debacle or for the other debacles in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Yemen or anywhere else. Not the generals. Not the politicians. Not the CIA and intelligence agencies. Not the diplomats. Not the obsequious courtiers in the press who serve as cheerleaders for war. Not the compliant academics and area specialists. Not the defense industry. Empires at the end are collective suicide machines.

The military becomes in late empire unmanageable, unaccountable, and endlessly self-perpetuating, no matter how many fiascos, blunders and defeats it visits upon the carcass of the nation, or how much money it plunders, impoverishing the citizenry and leaving governing institutions and the physical infrastructure decayed.

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After 18 Years, Bring Home America’s Troops from Iraq, by Doug Bandow

Unlike in Afghanistan, the government didn’t even have the excuse that there was a prominent terrorist 9/11 mastermind hiding in Iraq to justify its regime change operation. From Doug Bandow at antiwar.com:

President Joe Biden plans to keep U.S. forces in Iraq but out of combat, he hopes. At least that is what he said after representatives of the two governments met Monday in the latest “strategic dialogue.” Americans and Iraqis alike are still paying the price for George W. Bush’s disastrous invasion of Iraq.

The Islamic State, which overran much of the country only a few years ago, has been defeated. It remains a threat, but one that Iraqis can contain. The continuing divisions within Iraqi society pose a greater challenge to Baghdad. Although nominally at peace, Iraq is riven by sectarianism, violence, and corruption, which have inflamed popular frustration and anger, especially among the young, who are desperate for a better future.

Unfortunately, outside powers exacerbate internal problems. Geography and religion enhance the influence of Iran, which supports well-armed militias in Iraq. They operate outside of Baghdad’s control and today direct much of their fire at US forces.

Although more distant, Washington has acted even more imperiously and recklessly. The Reagan administration supported Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship, providing naval protection for oil shipments used to fund his murderous aggression against Iran. However, his 1990 attack on Kuwait turned Washington against him, leading to the first Gulf War. Then Bush used 9/11 as an excuse to invade Iraq. His claim that Baghdad possessed nuclear weapons was false, a striking pastiche of lies and misstatements, highlighted by calculated falsehoods from Ahmed Chalabi, a U.S.-subsidized expatriate who dreamed of seizing Iraq’s presidency.

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The Failed US War In Afghanistan Has Sparked A New Generation Of American Anti-Interventionist, Pro-Putin Conservatives, by Rachel Marsden

There are many people in the US who share a fundamental belief with Vladimir Putin: the US should mind its own business, we’ve got more than enough challenges at home that we don’t have to go looking for more in far-flung corners of the world. From Rachel Marsden at rt.news via lewrockwell.com:

Twenty years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, US and allied troops are finally leaving Afghanistan as the Taliban seem set to return to power. This failure has created a generation of conservatives opposed to US interventionism.

This week, when asked whether the US mission in Afghanistan was a failure as American and NATO troops handed over Bagram airfield to the Afghan army, President Joe Biden replied by citing purportedly achieved goals: “One, to bring Osama bin Laden to the gates of hell as I said at the time. The second reason was to eliminate Al Qaeda’s capacity to deal with more attacks on the United States from that territory. We accomplished both of those objectives. Period.”

Way to pretend to clean up the mess that you were responsible for creating in the first place.

Osama Bin Laden was a Saudi-born former CIA asset used as a proxy fighter against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan during the Cold War, as was Al Qaeda – both beneficiaries of US assistance against the Soviets.

The 9/11 hijackers were also largely all Saudi citizens. And while Bin Laden himself may be dead, the main problem hasn’t much changed. US ally, Saudi Arabia, has long since played a role in supporting other jihadists in the region, including the so-called US-backed Syrian ‘rebels’ in another American-led failed regime change effort in Syria.

And if there are fewer jihadists in Afghanistan right now, it’s only because the Taliban has been taking over the country again piece by piece as other fighters flee to other parts of the region – a sort of jihadist Big Bang.

In 20 years, the narrative against the Taliban – which never had any interests, terrorist or otherwise, outside of Afghanistan – has significantly changed.

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Casting Off the Imperial Diadem, by Daniel Larison

Americans are increasingly asking why we must go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. From Daniel Larison at antiwar.com:

John Quincy Adams delivered his address celebrating American independence two hundred years ago this week, and in that speech he famously told his fellow Americans that their country does not go abroad “in search of monsters to destroy.” This was just one part of his paean to American independence, which was then not yet half a century old, but it is the part that is most often cited because it sets out a clear rule for how America should conduct itself in the world. It is also the part that later generations of American leaders have chosen to disregard entirely to our detriment and that of the rest of the world.

In the two centuries since Adams warned against enlisting in the causes of other nations, the U.S. has increasingly involved itself in “the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom.” Because our government presumes to “lead” the world, it takes it as a given that it has the right to interfere anywhere and to intervene forcibly whenever it wishes. Today our government wears the “imperial diadem, flashing in false and tarnished lustre the murkey radiance of dominion and power” just as Adams feared that it would if it ignored the principles he defended. The question for Americans today is whether we want to cast off that imperial diadem and reclaim some measure of self-government by ending our involvement in our many foreign wars and entanglements.

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Escobar: The Long & Winding Multipolar Road

Pepe Escobar parses out the distinction between a rules-based order and a law-based order. From Escobar at The Asia Times via zerohedge.com:

The West’s “rules-based order” invokes rulers’ authority; Russia-China say it’s time to return to law-based order…

We do live in extraordinary times.

On the day of the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), President Xi Jinping, in Tiananmen square, amid all the pomp and circumstance, delivered a stark geopolitical message:

The Chinese people will never allow foreign forces to intimidate, oppress or subjugate them. Anyone who tries to do this will find themselves on a collision course with a large steel wall forged by more than 1.4 billion Chinese.

I have offered a concise version of the modern Chinese miracle – which has nothing to do with divine intervention, but “searching truth from facts” (copyright Deng Xiaoping), inspired by a solid cultural and historical tradition.

The “large steel wall” evoked by Xi now permeates a dynamic “moderately prosperous society” – a goal achieved by the CCP on the eve of the centennial. Lifting over 800 million people out of poverty is a historical first – in every aspect.

As in all things China, the past informs the future. This is all about xiaokang – which may be loosely translated as “moderately prosperous society”.

The concept first appeared no less than 2,500 years ago, in the classic Shijing (“The Book of Poetry”). The Little Helmsman Deng, with his historical eagle eye, revived it in 1979, right at the start of the “opening up” economic reforms.

Now compare the breakthrough celebrated in Tiananmen – which will be interpreted all across the Global South as evidence of the success of a Chinese model for economic development – with footage being circulated of the Taliban riding captured T-55 tanks across impoverished villages in northern Afghanistan.

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US Again Bombs Nations On Other Side Of The World In “Self-Defense”, by Caitlin Johnstone

The US government and military would at least cut down on the well-earned contempt directed towards them if they just did what they were going to do without offering any bullshit explanations or justifications. You earn no respect when you treat people like idiots. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:

The US is again illegally bombing nations on the other side of the planet which it has invaded and occupied and branded this murderous aggression as “defensive”.

“At President Biden’s direction, U.S. military forces earlier this evening conducted defensive precision airstrikes against facilities used by Iran-backed militia groups in the Iraq-Syria border region,” reads a statement by Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby. “The targets were selected because these facilities are utilized by Iran-backed militias that are engaged in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) attacks against U.S. personnel and facilities in Iraq. Specifically, the U.S. strikes targeted operational and weapons storage facilities at two locations in Syria and one location in Iraq, both of which lie close to the border between those countries.”

Even more absurd than the fact that we’re all still pretending this clearly dementia-addled president is “directing” anything is the claim that these actions were “defensive” in nature. It is not possible for occupying invaders to be acting defensively in the nations they are occupying an invading; US troops are only in Iraq by way of an illegal 2003 invasion, a bogus 2014 re-entry, and a refusal to leave at the Iraqi government’s request last year, and they are in Syria illegally and without the permission of the Syrian government. They can therefore only ever be aggressors; they cannot be acting defensively.

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Arrogant Narcissism: The Essence of U.S. Foreign Policy, by Ted Galen Carpenter

Power’s corruption works insidiously on the ego. From Ted Galen Carpenter at theamericanconservative.com:

America’s micromanaging of its allies continues to cause friction.

U.S. leaders routinely intone that the United States stands for a “rules-based international order,” and that Washington has always tried to play its role as benevolent global leader. The reality is decidedly less savory and far more self-centered. Washington’s actual attitude since World War II is one of arrogant national narcissism, and the problem persists in our own era.

Perhaps the most succinct expression of that perspective was Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright’s comment during a February 1998 interview on NBC’s “Today” show. She stated that “we are America; we are the indispensable nation. We stand tall and we see further than other countries into the future.” But that sentiment existed before Albright, and it has continued long after her departure from office.

One detects the same tone in President George H.W. Bush’s 1991 State of the Union Address.

For generations, America has led the struggle to preserve and extend the blessings of liberty. And today, in a rapidly changing world, American leadership is indispensable. Americans know that leadership brings burdens and sacrifices. But we also know why the hopes of humanity turn to us. We are Americans; we have a unique responsibility to do the hard work of freedom. And when we do, freedom works.

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Emperor Palpatine Urges Citizens To Give Up Their Blasters Since They’d Need A Death Star To Beat The Empire

From The Babylon Bee:

 

‘Rules-Based International Order’ Means Washington-Based International Order, by Caitlin Johnstone

The empire gets to make the rules. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:

The US government has shut down multiple news media websites based in the Middle East, including Iran’s state-owned Press TV, and al-Masirah TV which is owned by the Houthi group Ansarullah in Yemen. The Department of Justice said on Tuesday it had seized 36 Iranian-linked websites, claiming without evidence that they were associated with “either disinformation activities or violent organizations” and were shut down for a violation of US sanctions.

This would be the same US government that is imprisoning Julian Assange for journalism which exposed US war crimes, the same US government which paid for the weapons used to destroy more than 20 Palestinian media outlets in Gaza last month, the same US government whose unipolar domination of the planet is made possible by the journalism-destroying propaganda of the media-owning plutocratic class in alliance with sociopathic government agencies.

This would also be the same US government which constantly pays lip service to the need to protect the freedom of the press, as part of the “rules-based international order” it purports to uphold in the world.

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Escobar: The Real B3W-NATO Agenda, by Pepe Escobar

The attempt by the G-7 to counter China and Russia’s growing influence in what’s called the Global South is comical and has almost zero chance of achieving the desired results. From Pepe Escobar at The Asia Times via zerohedge.com:

Build Back Better World aims to derail the Belt and Road Initiative, flex NATO’s muscles and harass China 24/7…

The West is the best
The West is the best
Get here and we’ll do the rest

– Jim Morrison, The End

For those spared the ordeal of sifting through the NATO summit communique, here’s the concise low down: Russia is an “acute threat” and China is a “systemic challenge”.

NATO, of course, are just a bunch of innocent kids building castles in a sandbox.

Those were the days when Lord Hastings Lionel Ismay, NATO’s first secretary-general, coined the trans-Atlantic purpose: to “keep the Soviet Union out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.”

The Raging Twenties remix reads like “keep the Americans in, the EU down and Russia-China contained”.

So the North Atlantic (italics mine) organization has now relocated all across Eurasia, fighting what it describes as “threats from the East”. Well, that’s a step beyond Afghanistan – the intersection of Central and South Asia – where NATO was unceremoniously humiliated by a bunch of Pashtuns with Kalashnikovs.

Russia remains the top threat – mentioned 63 times in the communiqué. Current top NATO chihuahua Jens Stoltenberg says NATO won’t simply “mirror” Russia: it will de facto outspend it and surround it with multiple battle formations, as “we now have implemented the biggest reinforcements of our collective defense since the end of the Cold War”.

The communiqué is adamant: the only way for military spending is up. Context: the total “defense” budget of the 30 NATO members will grow by 4.1% in 2021, reaching a staggering $1.049 trillion ($726 billion from the US, $323 billion from assorted allies).

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